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In the second picture, it looks like there is some debris sitting on top of the piston that is suspiciously walnut-colored.

Is it possible that some of the media made it into the cylinder? I could *maybe* see that causing the issue if it interfered with the piston moving. Say, if it managed to get jammed between the piston and the cylinder wall. (But, I could be seeing stuff that fell in after the head was removed or whatever.) I'd expect that anything that made it past the valves when they were blasted would have been blown out through the exhaust already, though. So, I scratch my head.

Another question: where is the missing piece of the piston? Was it in the cylinder? If it made it past the rings - which would be quite a feat - it could have caused other damage when it made its way into the oil pan, or possibly interfered with the rod. BUT, if you're replacing the whole thing anyway, it's pretty much irrelevant.

Sorry this happened - that really sucks. The LDK should be a fun installation. If you have the budget, I'd go ahead and do an aluminum flywheel while you're at it. :D

Regarding the injector question: you can use your existing rail and injectors. OR, you could go with the Opel injectors. They flow about 12% more than the stock units. If you're thinking about E85 in the future, that is the first step. (C7 HPFP would be next.) If you're budget constrained, I'd skip the $400 and just re-use yours. (If it's a long block, doesn't it come with the injectors?) And, of course, you'd need to modify your tune slightly if you use different injectors. If you have HP Tuners, I can give you the values for the parameters that need to be changed. It's pretty straightforward.

If you have Trifecta, I'd have no idea how to do that and, since the ECM is locked, HPT won't be an option.
 

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Man I hate to see that. I feel your pain.

Just a guess, but I feel it is related to cleaning the valves.

As far as the tune, you can load your stock tune back in and then use HPT.

Best of luck to you.

Larry.
 

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Discussion Starter #43
@Z06-GXP @raygun Thanks for your input, I appreciate it! Yes, the media that you see is in fact walnut, no doubt from my valve cleaning. I'm not certain if this fell in when I was pulling the head off or if its been in there for 150 miles, but there was a little walnut in other cylinders also, as well as water. However, there was no oil mixing with water in the crank, so I think the water dripped in while removing the head - I assumed the walnut did the same? I don't discount the possibility of walnut contributing to the problem but I just can't fathom it?

I have no idea where the missing piston piece went?

e85 sounds awesome. To run the e85 tune would I still need a new hpfp if I had the ZZP cam with upgraded fuel lobe? I feel like it would be irresponsible to buy an engine from ZZP and not let them throw in a new cam while they're at it along with ARP head studs for future proofing. Unfortunately the price seems to be escalating quickly, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #44
I sent ZZP an email with pictures of the piston that had damage to it and they said:

"Interesting, that could be improper octane and lots of boost, or improper plugs (OEM only on the LNF). It's really hard to say. Least to say you will deinitely need a new engine.

Our opel injectors will require you to do a change to the computer tune. So I would suggest simply getting new oem ones. As for ARP head studs, you really do not need them, normal head bolts would be perfectly fine for this setup."

Improper octane - I use 91 (highest available in Denver, CO).
- Should 91 octane be fine with a Trifecta tune?

Improper plugs - I used four new AC Delco 41-108 gapped at 0.032 after I cleaned my valves 150 miles ago
- I'm not sure that the plugs are the issue, as far as I know I'm running the correct ones.

I'd hate to install a new engine just to have the same thing happen again.
- Is the tune the issue? @Z06-GXP You mentioned loading the stock tune back in, how does one achieve this
with Trifecta? Would the HP Tuner suite give me more options for data logging than Trifecta? Should I scrap my
Trifecta tune in favor of a HP Tune?
- Should I buy 4 new injector's?
- What would you do??
 

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If I were you I would buy an LDK/LHU engine from ATK 1900 dlls (block, head, opel injectors, hpfp, turbo, etc)

The ldk/LHU head fits the kappa platform, the only thing you have to reuse is the oil pan.

If you buy the engine from atk you can sell your injectors, old turbo, head, manifold, etc

Usually when the piston ring land get damage means it was lean or lots knock (uninstall the trifecta tune to be safe and buy hptuners and get a tune from zzp only 150 bucks

If you want to run full e85 on stock turbo you could get away with just the Opel injectors and hpfp or Opel injectors and fuel cam
 

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After looking at your pics a little closer, and on my computer, your piston has been going away for a while, maybe even before you cleaned your valves. Look at your second pic. Directly above your damage. There is a weird ridge that developed over time that matches your damage. Also that white stuff around the wall, that doesn't "just develop" in the little time you knew there was an issue. By looking at it I'm thinking 500-1000 miles, if not longer. I'm thinking maybe your ring started giving up and then the heat (all the white area) started really affecting other things. And finally the piston chipped from banging on the cylinder wall (this might explain that matching ridge!). Maybe you drove it a bit too hard just one time? Maybe you left it in gear and coasted down, or downshifted without rev matching causing the final nail in the coffin. I don't know you so I can't say how you drive your car. I know mine has been at 6k+ a couple of times. I don't think you have anything to worry about with the tune. How many miles were on your car when you put the tune in? Were you the one I warned about putting a tune in a motor with 80k on it? Just trying to help a little bit.
 

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Reloading the stock tune back in. My son helped me with this but I believe this is the way it went. I believe the the stock file and the tuned file are on the same media. We ran into the same problem when I went to HPT we could not access the PCM.

If you try to reload the tune file it will ask you if you want to load the stock file or the tune file. Reload the stock file and you should be good to go.

I spent a couple hundred hours learning and studying HPT tuners. They have a real good forum for our engines. My engine has 110,000 miles runs a strong 22lbs of boost with a water/meth injection. It has a Borg Warner 6758 turbo on it. The one off ELFs old car. I run the heck out of it on the road course. It has been to 7,000 many times.It may blow tomorrow but today it is running strong. I run it pretty rich in the tune for the track. With HPT you can very easily look at the knock retard. I have advanced the timing about 6 degrees with no knock. Wide open throtle at 6,500 AFR is rich at 12.2. I love screwing with this thing.

Best of luck to you.

Larry.
 

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Only 12.2? My '06 is at 10.5 at WOT.

Lightweight.

:) :) :)

Regarding the tune: if you're on Trifecta, you will likely have a great deal of difficulty installing anything else. The tune is locked - meaning, it requires a code before it can be read (or downloaded, if you prefer). I hope that the Trifecta software will let you reinstall the stock tune, which would then let you tune using, say, HP Tuners. But, I've recently dealt with a case where a friend bought a GXP with a Trifecta tune and even GM couldn't re-flash the ECM. Wound up having to get a replacement ECM for his car.

There's no good reason to upgrade injectors if you're already getting a new motor and don't have immediate plans to go with E85. Re-use your current injectors, and ZZP gave you good advice. It's rare that a vendor will be honest and tell you that you don't need a bunch of additional parts. (We're fortunate that most of the kappa-friendly vendors will do so.) The ARP studs are great if you're running crazy boost, or boosting a high-compression engine a bit more than is recommended. I've been running 13psi-15psi on my '06 for a few years now. Studs are easier than bolts, and better at keeping the head from lifting. On an LNF at ~25psi, they're not necessary. (But, they look REALLY cool poking up out of the block.)

Also, there's a really nice video on YouTube of a guy putting an LDK block (with LDK head) in a Solstice, with no trouble fitting. Still not sure why so many think it won't fit. I work with CG a lot, but it'd take a lot of work to make an effect look that terrible. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #49
Once again, thank you everyone for your time and thoughts! Having the community available for help in a time of need is what it's all about and you guys are amazing, you've really helped me talk through things!

I reached out to both Daves this morning and heard back from Gilbert first. His thoughts: Ring land failure - common in these engines he says. Thinks its definitely either from too rich or too lean of conditions inside cylinder 2. Thinks the Trifecta tune is a little aggressive for 91 octane gas and that he would replace the injectors to be safe. He can order the exact same LDK setup that ZZP offers - only his prices are $500 cheaper than them! Thank you @raygun for the video of the LDK being dropped into a Sky; this information alone saves me $500 since I don't need to order a LNF head like I thought; I owe you a steak dinner! For $500 I can get 4 new injectors, or for $365 Dave offers the Opel injectors - however he says that the Opel injectors will need a tune before I ever even run the car. He said the HPT is $399 and that he can tune the car for $375 with the Opel injectors and 91 octane. To be transparent I really don't know much about the HPT at all, don't I buy the suite and then I have to buy credits or something to apply a tune? I dunno I need to do research in HPT. Alternatively I contacted Trifecta to see if they could data log on a new engine and write a less aggressive tune - I don't know if this is possible.

So options:
LDK engine from PAW for $2,500 (with turbo) + new injectors for $500 OR Opel injectors for $365 but I need a custom tune that would cost $775 from PAW

LNF engine from ATK for $1,900 (with turbo) and it comes with new injectors.

Would you spend the extra $1,000 to get a LDK block with new injectors vs an old LNF?

It scares me to buy a LNF that has possible foam casting problems - I'm questioning whether I should spend the extra money on a LDK.
@raygun You mentioned having parameters that may work for a HPTuner - does this mean that I potentially wouldn't need to buy Daves tune that costs $375, if I had Opel injectors?

If I can only have 91 octane in Denver then would it be better to simply buy an E85 tune along with Opel injectors and HPFP?

Options....
 

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Discussion Starter #50
Just thought I'd post Trifecta's response to my inquiry:

Hello,

Thanks for the inquiry. 91 is still premium fuel. Stock pistons are going to fail eventually, on a tune. Especially on an aging platform like the LNF engine. Your driving style also contributes to the failure. Most owners say they baby their vehicle but for 90% of them, that's not entirely true. Otherwise, why tune the vehicle in the first place? If you are driving aggressively, back to back wide open throttle pulls, not allowing the vehicle to cool down in between pulls, etc, something is going to give eventually.

In any case, no, the tune is not "too aggressive". Otherwise, it would have blown the piston the first time you went wide open throttle after installing the tune. There isn't anything that an HPT tuner can do that we can't. If you have the premium full priced package, not budget, then you can datalog, and we can review the log and make any changes if necessary, etc etc.

Thanks,

Michael
 

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So here is what I think.

The stock tune has the characteristic behavior of changing to "cruise" mode when in a steady state freeway loping mode for a few minutes. They ramp up the MPG that way. As soon as you give it significant throttle they PING. Mine did it all the time. I learned to drive around it by blipping the throttle after freeway cruising before asking for more power. The few times I neglected to do this, it PINGS consistently.

Detonation is and has been death on these motors.

I think the tune and the way it goes into cruise mode contributed to your problem.

If you are feeling sporty, then by all means leave the trifecta installed and see how it goes. We have one member who went through THREE motors in a row while tuning his car. :)

If it were me, I would go conservative with a new motor. At least until you get it broken in and know its running well.

To have Trifecta tell you "its YOUR fault" is in my opinion the height of arrogance. And avoiding any responsibility. It feels like a well practiced, standard response.
 

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Well the GM tune only requires 91 octane and didn't even void your warranty so...

If I were spending my own money, I'd go back to stock first until you're up and running again, then go with a different tune. Unfortunately it seems like this is Trifecta's attitude more and more these days.
 

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-ATK's LNF engine is actually a LHU 2.0 engine with Opel injectors and a k04 new turbo!!! That's the cheapest option!!! (If you buy the atk engine you'll need to switch the oil pan from your engine)

-You'll need to buy the Hptuners suite (299 dlls) and 2 credits (50 dlls each) to tune your car

-If you don't want to buy the hptuner hardware, you can buy RPMs tune (350 dlls) he will send you a laptop along with hotuners (disclaimer some say it takes long to receive the hardware, i don't know if it's true).

-I also have the Opel injector calibration if you need it
 

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Discussion Starter #54
*ATK

I called them this morning and was told their engine is a LNF.

I saw @ssky response that it's really a LHU so I decided to call back late afternoon and spoke with the gentleman who said that he's the one who placed the order for the several trailers of engines and unfortunately he didn't know what they were. He suggested me to call Jeff at JNR Cobalt because he had ordered a great deal of them and worked on them.

I googled and found that JNR Cobalt only has a Facebook and eBay page but I found a telephone number and called Jeff, who I presumed was the owner. Despite terrible phone issues while we were chatting, I heard him say that the engines were made by GM for the Fisker Karma but after the brand went upside down, they had a surplus of engines, which is where these came from. I believe he said that the engines were also used in some sort of generator. He said that the engines are the in fact LDK engines along with Opel injectors. he said that I'd had to retap the intake for the Solstice map sensor. Apparently he's used many of these with no issues. Jeff told me that he sells the exact same cam that ZZP sells, with the upgraded fuel lobe, for $170/shipped. Jeff also recommended me to call Martin at RPM since he too had bought quite a few of these. I called and found out he had bought 8 and 2 had problems. One ruined an engine with less than 300 miles, that had a hpfp go bad but ATK wouldn't warranty it because he broke it in with synthetic oil instead of regular oil. Another didn't run right so they pulled the head and put it back on and it ran great. He thought that maybe the engine got knocked during shipping. He offers the HP Tune MPVI2 plus 2 credits for $350.

I called a local injector cleaner shop and spoke with a guy about the engine. He thought that the ring land failure and discolored cylinder description I gave him were from a too lean condition and said that could only happen from a faulty injector or an intake that was sucking air. Coincidentally I had my intake off 150 miles before the problem. The PAW spacer looks perfect with no signs that it was sucking air though, so maybe it's an injector?

For $1,900/shipped I figured that the ATK engines are worth the risk.

I'm going to try to uninstall the Trifecta tune and then run a HP tune for the Opel injectors - these injectors are e85 compliant. I figured that with the Opel injectors and upgraded cam, I could do an e85 tune one day.
 

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No need to retap the intake manifold, if you are running the 3 bar sensors or the other option is using your LNF intake manifold, sell the new intake manifold.

I also forgot to mention that exhaust manifold seats a bit higher, if you don't like it you could swap the stock exhaust manifold, but you would also need swap the turbo return oil return line.

You might be able to purchase the atk engine on ebay and purchase ebay's warranty (aftermarket) for a low price.

Send me your email address and I'll send you a pic of atk's crate engine, for some reason i can't post pics
 

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Discussion Starter #57
*Update*

I heard back from Dave at DDM and I've pasted his response below.

I called him afterward and he did believe that this happened from my valve cleaning job, he thinks I got trash down in the cylinder based off the discoloration. I'm a very careful person so I'm not really sure how I could have screwed anything up, but oh well.

My plan is to order the ATK LDK for $1,900 which includes longblock, injectors, exhaust manifold w/turbo and intake manifold with throttle body. I'll drop the new engine in and then once everything's hooked up I'll attempt to uninstall the Trifecta tune and then install a HP tune that supports the Opel injectors. I'd prefer to keep the tune as close to stock as possible for a couple thousand miles before going to something more aggressive.

I checked eBay this morning for an ATK engine to see if I could add a warranty to it. Go figure the engine they had listed sold YESTERDAY!

Below are Dave's thoughts:

Hello,

Thanks for the email.

What caused the piston to deteriorate? Hard to say based on those pictures, but it doesn't look like the typical heat damage from detonation. There is a lot of Scoring to the cylinder in those pictures, the walls of the cylinder are heavily damaged and if I had to guess, I would say there was debris that got into that cylinder.

Could the engine of been too lean? It could be and since you change the intake after the tune was done, I would definitely make sure that the engine is running proper air/fuel ratios after the intake change.

Could too lean be a bad injector? - Could be, but I do not see signs of a cylinder running leaner than the others based on the pictures you supplied
Could too lean be a bad tune? - Could be, but I do not see signs of the cylinders running lean based on the pictures you supplied
If it were a tune then wouldn’t all cylinders have issues? - Typically yes
Could it be a faulty spark plug? - Highly unlikely
If it were a bad spark plug wouldn’t the engine of missed out? - Yes
Could it be incorrect octane and too much boost? - Not seeing what looks like typical detonation signs on the piston
I only run 91 octane (highest available in Denver) and high quality gas. - that should be fine
When you get the engine out and can see those pistons, please send pictures of the side of the #2 piston.

Please let us know if there is anything else we can answer or help you with,
Dave Michel
DDMWorks
 

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Is there any chance that you ran the engine with the air filter off after you cleaned the valves?

I saw a video yesterday where a guy described losing the engine in a 944. Turned out that a screw from a worm gear hose clamp had somehow found its way into a cylinder. :(

I'm thinking we need to find a new blasting media. Preferably something that's water soluble. Blast the valves, hose it down with a pressure sprayer, vacuum the thing out and move on with one's life.
 

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You raise an interesting point. Perhaps there was some contamination of the media used. It might be interesting to run a magnet through the remaining sample at the Punisher garage to see if anything pops up. Could for example be random metal contamination from the media crushing process that made its way past the valve.
 
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